Jason Purcell

Posts tagged with “journal”


The word that takes an entire line
and still needs room
to carry all my belongings.

I am pressed by muscled hours,
thumbprints on my eyelids
at thirty-two degrees.

I am always almost there,
climbing up over this disorder
to the burnt, very white sky,
white as a wall,
once a blank page, now a screen.


I have kept my life busy and loud and full of work. My eyes don’t look up very often, and when they do they don’t see clearly. I am tired and waiting for quiet moments.

Last night, desperate for sleep, I thought of you and of the emptiness I am trying to ignore, the back of your neck, the curl of your hair, the blue that is your best colour.


You told me I strayed, like I was something fixed to the sky and you were surprised to fall asleep without me shining in my usual spot. It is true that I stood constant in the north for so long, but there are always others orbiting around me who pull me in new and interesting ways. Love is not a law. It is not gravity, it is not always falling, and the apple doesn’t always smash against the earth at the end. Love is spinning around at night. It is dancing, light-footed and free. You told me I strayed, but none of us are ever fixed. We are always turning, falling into one another, colliding and destroying and creating. Orbits end, after millions of years, after two. You told me I strayed, but that is what we do. You do not need to look up at me anymore, scour the dark for my usual place. We have ended, but it was beautiful. Do not blame me.

Tuesday, 10:24 PM

I hold my palms down while the sink fills, hot rings around wrists, soap bubbles, a bruise under the thumb. I clean the pot I cooked rice in. I didn’t cook it properly. Grains cling to the pot in groups of three and four and I pull them away from each other, keep them between my fingers. It feels like the first time I have touched anything. I hold them until the water cools and then I sleep until the afternoon ends.

baby, wednesday, april 23, 11:41 pm

i think we were brave
to stand where we did for so long
and love each other as much
as we loved our borders.

we loved to the final minute,
after the weeping,
when we were laughing
and knowing that we’d always
know each other.

you are a beautiful part of my life.
thank you for the good years.
we are lucky and ongoing.

a kiss at the door and leaving
it open.

april 19 12:57 AM

The first line of a poem
that I can finally move away from.

I have a mouth swollen from nature metaphors.
I am a weak writer, always talking about the ice
melting from the bottom up, about running water,
always talking about feeling cold.
I am bruising under the thumbs of academics and artists.
I will never be great in those fields. I help with their
anthologies. I sing their songs. But I have glassy eyes.
My voice is gone. I carry my tension in my throat,
gasping. I forget, hands on face.
I have lost interest in the body. I soothe myself to sleep
by the grind of teeth. I’m living at Monk’s House.
My music is gone. Where is the river?
It’s melting. I wrote it down.
The mind has an end.

12:28, in a panic

Hours, hours, wrapped up around each other in tight coils. You are the rings of the glowing stovetop and I somehow have to unfurl your fiery frantic orange. I inherited small delicate hands. Let me touch you with them. You have left your mark. I have wasted you and you have wasted me.

20 march 2014

The days grow taller and look down on me.
The snow melts and runs away, down the drain,
except where it pools on lawns and
on dammed sidewalks.
Shadier parts still carrying ice
crack under my eyes,
violent with panic, trying to find myself,
a sinking drop of ocean
landlocked, so far from home. 

5 feb 2014

I keep memories of you light against my lips. During the span of our love I learned about time. I knew to elongate seconds, to memorize the softness of your face and the sound of your smile. I never learned how to forget. Time continues to be counted.

Once you looked up at me from the floor where you sat stuffing your suitcase and with liquid eyes you said, “You are so good to me.” I bent to kiss you, completely full of love and safety and searing guilt for every pain I bore into you. I never learned how to forget. Did you?

We are both gone now, huddled back in our past lives and pretending we are strangers. Or have we moved beyond pretending? We must have. Who are you now? Have you changed much? You haven’t written to me in so long. I think the fight is over. I wonder how things would be now if I had never hurt you at all. Would my door sound different? All it says is silence.

I walk to the bus stop earlier now. It arrives on time. I don’t forget.


How will you remember us when four letters seem ridiculous and impossible against the mountains and the long lines of airports? What will my name sound like in twenty years, if you even remember it at all? Tongue against tooth, I am homesick for you, come home. Where is home? That question again.